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Safari Africa Animal Fact Sheet
PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS
Hexaprotodon libriensis

Range:
West Africa, mainly confined to Liberia, with small numbers in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. The smooth, hairless skin is black-brown to purple in color, with the cheeks often tinted pink. A secretion of mucous keeps the hide moist and shiny. The body is barrel-shaped and is supported by proportionally long legs. The four-toed feet have virtually no webbing. The head is round and narrower than the river hippopotamus, with the eyes placed more to the sides. Pygmy hippos have numerous resting places throughout their territory, which they use exclusively when sleeping. These resting places are usually found in moist to wet terrain. Both sexes have home ranges, though those of males are much larger than those of females: a female's range covering 100-150 acres, and a male's covering about 400 acres. Despite extensive overlapping of home ranges, pygmy hippopotamuses rarely meet others of their species. Indeed, they actively avoid encounters with others, presumably through dung marking. Most movements are along cleared paths, canals, and tunnels, which are used by several hippos. During the breeding season, males seek out receptive females, who tolerate the males' presence when in heat. When threatened, pygmy hippos usually flee: trotting into the dense jungle for a short ways, then hiding till the danger has passed. Normally silent, they have been recorded snorting, grunting, hissing, groaning, and squeaking.

Habitat: Dense, swampy forests near rivers, streams, and creeks.
Diet: Herbivores and feed on various vegetation, including succulents, tender shoots, leaves, roots, grasses, and fallen fruit. Unlike Nile hippopotamuses, pygmy hippopotamuses also feed on aquatic plants.
Status: Endangered (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Weight: 350 to 550 lbs.
Height: 2.5 feet at the shoulder

Lifespan: 30-50 years.
Reproduction & Offspring: A single calf is born on land, weighing approximately 10-14 pounds at birth.

 

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